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NASA's Horizons Spacecraft To Probe Pluto Moon For Underground Ocean 47

An anonymous reader writes NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is moving towards Pluto to explore Charon, one of Pluto's moons. The aim of the mission is to search of evidence of an ancient underground ocean on the moon. "Our model predicts different fracture patterns on the surface of Charon depending on the thickness of its surface ice, the structure of the moon's interior and how easily it deforms, and how its orbit evolved," said Alyssa Rhoden of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "By comparing the actual New Horizons observations of Charon to the various predictions, we can see what fits best and discover if Charon could have had a subsurface ocean in its past, driven by high eccentricity."
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NASA's Horizons Spacecraft To Probe Pluto Moon For Underground Ocean

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  • quite a rapid flyby (Score:5, Interesting)

    by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @09:45AM (#47245329)
    In order to get the probe there in the career lifetimes of the investigators and minimize decay of the power source and instruments, this probe has the fastest velocity of any probe so far. It took only eight hours to pass the Moon's orbit. That gives it about a three day window to make measurements before heading off into the Kuiper belt (and 2nd plutoid if they can find one soon).

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor